Closing the Distance in Healthcare - Texas Back Institute Case Study

Lifesize® Cloud video conferencing connects clinics, physicians and patients with a single click

As video conferencing technology takes on a trusted role in healthcare, it’s moving from large hospital settings to doctors’ offices, rural clinics and even into patients’ homes—making it possible for people to get the care they need whenever and wherever they need it. Specifically, video conferencing opens a window for patients to talk with physicians face to face without having to travel to a medical office.

But using video in place of an in-person medical consultation is not without challenges. Physicians and patients both need to have the assurance that they can still develop a real connection through the technology and that the experience of going over important medical documents and imaging will be just as effective as if they were meeting in person.

This means finding a connection that works anywhere, on any device, with stellar visuals and rock-solid security. As the Texas Back Institute discovered, finding the right cloud video conferencing solution makes this prescription much easier to fill.

“Ease for the end user is key. Thankfully we found a solution like that in Lifesize.”

Goodbye to video conferencing tools that stalled collaboration

The Texas Back Institute (TBI) is one of the largest freestanding spine centers in the world, with 200 employees in more than a dozen clinics in the Greater Dallas/Fort Worth area. Its surgical team specializes in advanced spinal procedures and the use of robotics, intraoperative CT imaging systems and computerassisted navigation. These minimally invasive tools and techniques can help pinpoint the source of a patient’s neck or back pain while also greatly reducing the impact of surgery on the body.

But before recommending any type of surgery, TBI physicians first thoroughly review each patient’s medical history, imaging results and diagnostic tests, sometimes convening a nine doctor, peer-review committee to discuss treatment and options. Having video conferencing in the main office as well as in outlying clinics helps make these reviews and other consultations and meetings easier for busy physicians to attend.

The original video conferencing system in the main office was installed by contractors, according to IT system administrator Jared Bares. The outlying clinics featured a more expedient setup: a break room TV with a computer, microphone and camera. But in order to ensure doctors could simply show up at the right time and place for a meeting, one of TBI’s eight IT professionals had to talk employees through plugging a cable into the TV’s HDMI port, and then remotely connect with the computer to set up the meeting and get everything ready to go.

The IT team also had to wrangle connectivity issues outside the network, such as making sure systems used by other offices worked with the in-house solution and verifying that offsite employees and patients had what they needed to join meetings remotely.

“We routinely had physicians and other employees who wanted to connect from outside of the TBI network, and the solution we had in place at the time was not easy to deal with,” he says.

Simplified installation that “just works”

At the suggestion of a trusted vendor, TBI moved to the Lifesize Cloud video conferencing solution. Bares says the service works with their existing equipment, making it both affordable and convenient. It’s also easier to administer and maintain because of features like automatic software updates and 24x7 support.

As for setup, “All we have to do is basically install the software, plug in the hardware—and it just works,” Bares says.

This ease extends to employees as well. The simple user interface makes it easy for anyone with an account to initiate one-on-one video calls or larger meetings, so IT doesn’t need to travel to remote offices to connect video systems to the service. Instead, they can just email a meeting invite to participants, who then simply click on a link to connect to the meeting.

For physicians, Lifesize Cloud boosts productivity by making it possible to see more patients—particularly patients who can’t come into the office. Instead, they can set up a consultation via Lifesize to review images and “run through all the typical things the doctor would normally point out” during a regular office visit.

TBI employees have also told Bares they like being able to connect names to faces in larger committee meetings—a useful feature in a large company with colleagues who may not always get a chance to meet in person. They value the ability to mute outside participants as they join meetings, which cuts down on background noise and distractions. And they like being able to make video images full-screen and to share and resize documents on the fly.

But ultimately, the most important feature of Lifesize Cloud is how fast and easy it is for everyone to use. “Ease for the end user is key. Thankfully we found a solution like that in Lifesize.”

A simple solution for connecting doctors and patients anywhere, on any device

Lifesize connects award-winning video conferencing systems, browser-based desktop and mobile apps to a radically simplified cloud video service. The result is unmatched simplicity and brilliant high-definition video that enables people meeting on-screen to feel like they’re all in the same room.

Lifesize Cloud supports Mac® and PC, the latest iOS and Android™ mobile devices, and the Google Chrome™ browser, making it easy to join meetings from almost any device. “What’s nice about Lifesize is that users can be on their phones, their tablets or their computers—pretty much wherever they have a data connection—and they can jump into a meeting even if they’re not physically at one of our locations,” Bares says.

Participants can add or remove attendees, merge meetings, record and share calls, and make calls directly from their browsers. They can also dig into features like calendar integration, one-on-one and group chat, and audio-only calling.

All of these options are backed by the robust security features of Lifesize Cloud, which include automatic firewall traversing and secure AES 128-bit encryption. “When it comes to security in IT and any clinical office, you’re dealing with patient information, and that’s a huge deal. Lifesize put us at ease with their system.”

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